Kazakhstan military helicopter crash leaves four dead

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A military helicopter has crashed near Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, killing four people on board, defence ministry officials say.

An investigation into the cause of the MI-17 crash near the military airport has begun, reports the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

The helicopter was conducting a training flight, officials say.

Once a part of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan still uses old, Soviet-built aircraft.

The crash happened at about 08:00 (02:00 GMT), when the helicopter started to burn, according to reports.

"The investigation has just started, so all the circumstances of the accident are under investigation," Zhenis Temekov, an official from the military prosecutor office, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

The government has set up a commission led by the air force to look into the crash.